River Meuse

River Meuse

Namur! What a difference and a breath of fresh air, lifts, a lovely modern station and a very nice town. I managed to take my bike in a glass lift from the platform to the concourse, had a look round and then squeezed into a smaller glass lift to the street, very pleasant. I visited the new tourist information office to the left as you exit the station, next to Starbucks. They hadn’t got a clue but were full of apologies, they did suggest Maison Des Cyclistes which was on the right of the station exit.

This narrow glass booth was a repair and hire shop, the young man on duty this Sunday was Jeremy, I asked about maps, he said no problem, I then asked about headset bearings and we spent the next hour changing the bearings, fitting bar ends, adjusting the back wheel and setting the gears. I left with a full set of spare bearings, maps and the directions to a campsite €20 the lot.

I followed the river as instructed crossed the stone bridge and continued for several miles. I even spotted a nice wild camping spot, so stayed in a wood near the road which was fairly quite until 22:00 and then nothing until 07:00 or I was just fast asleep. The only problem was I was unorganized, it took too long to set up the tarp and hammock and I spent 30 minutes tying branches back to create some camouflage. It seemed to rain all night and I had to pack up in the rain which I’m not keen on. Getting out of the wood was harder than getting in as the bank was wet and steep, so I just held on to the bike and went with it.

I cycled along the N92 towards Danient, not knowing if it was the correct route but it was extremely scenic and followed the river Meuse. Once the rain had gone I stopped on the river bank near a church which was on the opposite side of the river, there were geese passing overhead as I propped my bike against a fence to take some photos, It was overcast and chilly but I thought the rain had ended for the day so I put the solar charger on my rack. I continued along the river bank for several miles and even stopped at a lock to watch a boat go through, across the river there was a steep cliff and I noticed a team of climbers attempting an ascent. As I was watching life go by it started to rain so I sheltered under the lock keepers tower until it passed. The river Meuse is very picturesque and the cycle path goes all the way to Danient, only a few kilometers to go the heavens opened and I had to shelter under a road bridge, I was there at least an hour before it stopped and was joined by a group of cyclists who all seemed to have the latest bikes and panniers, I was a little jealous and felt like a hobo.

Danient is at the base of a cliff with an unusual cathedral and above the cathedral on the top of the cliff are the walls of the old city and a castle, there is a cable car which takes you to the top. I resisted a ride to the top as I had nowhere to put my bike and my budget is not going well. I pushed the bike along the river through the city and asked 2 old dears who were crossing the bridge to take my photo, they agreed but as I posed for my portrait in Danient on the bridge which crosses the Meuse river my chosen photographer raised her own camera to her eye, it took me several attempts to persuade her to use my camera. I think the confusion was we had exactly the same cameras but mine had a different lens on, funny moment though.

That night I stayed at the Villatoile campsite which was a mistake, it was very expensive €19, was full of noisy kids and was the venue for rock climber, kayakers and general outdoor courses but I needed to dry my gear and I was knackered. I pitched near the cows at the back of the site who came over to say hello and could hear a fast flowing stream nearby. I dried my stuff, setup camp and went to buy some snacks. I bought jus De pommes, 2 bread rolls some sliced cheese, 2 small waffles and crisps. €9 ouch! I headed back to the tent, had a little picnic and fell asleep.